According to a recent British study, drinking acidic drinks like fruit teas and flavored waters can significantly wear down teeth and cause damage to tooth enamel.
The King’s College London team looked at the diets of 300 people, all with severe erosive tooth wear. The research found that drinking these acidic drinks between meals can lead to an increased risk of tooth erosion. Additionally, holding the drinks in the mouth before swallowing caused an increased risk as well.
The lead study author, Dr. Saoirse O’Toole, explained that, “If you drink things for long periods of time, greater than five minutes, or if you play with things in your mouth or if you nibble on fruit over a few minutes rather than eating them as a whole fruit – these are things that can really damage your teeth. If you’re going to have an apple as a snack at lunchtime, then try not to have anything acidic later on in the evening… Just balance things in your diet.”
Researchers also advise against drinking heated acidic drinks. Fruit’s natural acids corrode teeth even faster when heated with hot water, causing increased erosion.
The researcher’s data showed that people who consumed drinks like flavored water or fruit tea twice a day between meals were more than 11 times more likely to have significant tooth erosion. However, when these drinks were consumed with meals, this figure was cut in half.
According to Russ Ladwa, who chairs the British Dental Association’s health and science committee, having acidic drinks with meals minimizes the damage because chewing food leads to an increase of saliva, which, in turn, helps to dilute acidic substances.
Tooth erosion can lead to significant dental problems. Already, about 3 million people have dental implants and millions of people get cavities filled every year. This research further shows the importance of a well-balanced diet.
So which drinks are considered acidic? Drinks like alcohol, fruit teas, flavored water, diet drinks, and sweetened drinks can all cause significant erosion to teeth when drank too frequently. On the other hand, water, tea, coffee, and milk are found to cause no harm to tooth enamel.